A Closer Look at Online Bullying Tactics

Do you suspect that your child is being bullied online? It’s a difficult topic to bring up, especially if your child hasn’t mentioned it themselves. Perhaps a good way to approach the discussion is to first educate and try to empathize with what they could be experiencing, and this could mean understanding the specifics behind interactions of bullies and their victims. What types of tactics could a bully be using to harass your child? There are seven common ways online bullies attack their victims:

  1. Flaming electronic transmission of angry or rude messages

  2. Harassment repeatedly sending insulting or threatening messages

  3. Cyberstalking threats of harm or intimidation

  4. Denigration put-downs and spreading cruel rumors

  5. Masquerading pretending to be someone else and sharing information to damage a person’s reputation

  6. Outing revealing personal information about a person which was originally shared in confidence

  7. Exclusion maliciously leaving a person out of a group online, such as a group chat or a game, and ganging up on that individual

Source: Cyberbullying and its impact on young people’s emotional health and well-being


Many of these techniques are straight from playground bullying, but with online bullying there is the constant and instantaneous opportunity to harass. Unlike traditional bullying, the harassment follows your child home. Learning as much as possible about the dynamics involved in online bullying can give you a perspective on the situation that can help you give better advice to your child. Especially if you haven’t experienced bullying yourself, it goes a long way to try to understand your child’s experience and communicate that you are there for them.